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Impending All-Pro Free Agent Says Goodbyes, Likely To Join New Team

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry said his goodbyes after Sunday's game and heavily implied he won't be back in 2024.
Derrick Henry

The Tennessee Titans pulled off the upset against the Jacksonville Jaguars, winning their season finale by a final score of 28-20 in what could be the last game of the Derrick Henry Era. Henry, widely considered to be one of the best running backs of his generation, is an impending free agent and finished the season on the highest of notes. Serving as the focal point of the offense, the former second-round pick finished the game with 153 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. After the content, the former All-Pro took the microphone and thanked Titans fans for “the greatest eight years of [his] life.” Later on during his postgame press conference, Henry continued to thank just about every single person involved with the organization – including security guards and the cleaning crew.

Free agency is still months away, and a lot can happen between now and the beginning of the 2024 league year. However, Derrick Henry is acting like somebody who knows he won’t be coming back to the Titans. While the running back is a franchise icon and one of the greatest ever to play the position, a fresh start makes sense for both parties. Now entering his age-30 season, Henry can’t possibly have too many more years left in his tank. He’ll want to compete for a Super Bowl, and the Titans simply aren’t able to do that. While Will Levis has shown some flashes as a rookie, this team needs to completely rebuild their offense and probably won’t be able to compete until 2025 at the absolute earliest.

Derrick Henry knows all this, and while it’s clear that he loves the Titans, the NFL is a business at the end of the day. Somebody is going to sign him, but who will it be?

5 Derrick Henry Free Agent Destinations

Buffalo Bills

James Cook has done well as the lead running back in Buffalo, but he’s no Derrick Henry. At 5′-11″ and 190 pounds, Cook is a shifty threat that can make defenders miss in space while providing some value in the passing game. Henry, meanwhile, is an absolute wrecking ball whose physical style of play should mesh well with Buffalo’s cold climate. Having him serve as an early-down back would make this offense even more dangerous, especially when paired with Josh Allen. Allen is effectively Buffalo’s short-yardage back already, and making defenders try to stop him and Henry in tight quarters is simply unfair.

Baltimore Ravens

No matter who is actually playing the position, Baltimore’s starting running back is always efficient because the opposing defenses are worried about Lamar Jackson. Jackson is maybe the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the league, but imagine just how unstoppable this ground attack could be with a running back that commanded the respect of the defense. Gus Edwards has done well this year, but both he and the injured J.K. Dobbins are set to be free agents. Even at his current age, Derrick Henry would be a considerable upgrade over either player and would be an ideal fit for the run scheme.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys believe that you need a good running back if you want to have a good offense. After all, that’s why they selected Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth-overall pick back in 2016 and used the franchise tag to retain Tony Pollard. The only problem is that Pollard was up for the challenge of being a full-time starter. The former fourth-round pick looked like one of the most explosive backs in the game when splitting touches with Elliott, but the 2023 season proved he wasn’t able to maintain that with a larger workload. Derrick Henry can handle more touches than just about anybody and should welcome the opportunity to play on a team like Dallas.

Chicago Bears

The 2023 Chicago Bears were not Super Bowl contenders, but they have the resources to be a major player in the 2024 campaign. Armed with the first-overall pick, another first-round pick, and a ton of cap space, Chicago has all the pieces it needs to compete in the upcoming season. Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson both had their moments this year, but neither guy is anywhere close to as good as Derrick Henry. Chances are, the Bears will have a new quarterback next year, and Chicago should try to support him with a strong running back like Henry.

Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler tried to hold out for more money in the offseason, but nobody was willing to give it to him. As it turns out, that was a good decision, as the former undrafted free agent struggled mightily during the 2023 season. With Ekeler likely on his last legs, perhaps the Chargers decide to upgrade to a running back who seems to be immune to aging. Derrick Henry’s hard-nosed style of running should work behind the Chargers offensive line, and he’ll probably love the chance to work with one of the best young passers in the game in Justin Herbert.

Main Photo: Denny Simmons – USA Today Sports


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